Nuts & Bolts

Posted on March 01,2012 by sskeenmspp

In about an hour, a few of my coworkers at the academic resource center and myself will be leading a workshop on "the nuts and bolts of graduate writing skills." We'll be speaking about basic academic writing skills, and offering some suggestions to students based on the common issues we see in papers.

In general, MSPP students are pretty good writers, but there are a few problems that seem to occur pretty frequently in the papers I read. The content in their writing is almost always very good, but there are some stylistic issues that come up. My biggest pet peeve is verbose writing. In my view, writing (especially academic writing) sounds best when it is as succinct as possible. This seems to be a pretty common issue around here, so I'm excited to be able to give our students some constructive feedback.

I was flattered to be asked to participate in the workshop, but to be honest, I'm very nervous. I'm not the best public speaker, and when I have presentations, I get stage fright even in the most welcoming of classes. To make matters worse, the IT department will be filming us, so that my awkward throat clearings and use of filler words like "um" will be preserved for future generations of MSPPers. Yikes.

Well, I have a mug of hot coffee and an hour to go over my notes, so hopefully I'll be well prepared to start by 6:30. Wish me luck!